Good morning readers,
A Hardly Normal lounge suite saga 🙂
I thought I would share a little story about a client’s lounge suite that I had to work on recently.
The lounge suite was bought from Harvey Norman in Tweed Heads in NSW Australia. The lounge suite was imported by “Coral Bay East Coast Pty Ltd” based in Castle Hill, Sydney, Australia, but was manufactured in China. There is no indication of whether Coral Bay is the designer, or if they just remarket a Chinese product.
The problem that I found with this lounge suite, was that the cables that operated the recliner function had failed. This had apparently occurred not much later than the 12 month warranty that Harvey Norman indicated applied to the lounge suite.
I was surprised that the cables had failed. Those of you who have ever worked on a bicycle, would be aware of the type of cables that I am talking about. See the following picture.
The knob at the end of this cable (as above), associated with the recliner function, had completely come off – on both cables! The outcome of this was that the recliner function no longer worked.
Upon review of this lounge suite, it was quite obvious what the problem was immediately. When you pulled on the trigger to operate the recliner, nothing happened because the head had come completely off the cable.
In my opinion, the cables were not fit for purpose. Either the loading on the cables to operate the recliner function was too great, or the cables were of a poor quality.
Either way, the client was left with a lounge suite that no longer operated.
Harvey Norman was contacted by the owner to tell them of the fault, and their response was to buy two more cables and then pay someone to install them. The cost of this would likely amount to several hundred dollars in total.
I might point out that under Australian Consumer Law:
Since 1 January 2011, the following consumer guarantees on products and services apply.
Products must be of acceptable quality, that is:
•safe, lasting, with no faults
•do all the things someone would normally expect them to do.
Acceptable quality takes into account what would normally be expected for the type of product and cost.
Under “Australian” consumer law, products are expected to last a reasonable length of time, which can be indicated by the cost and type of item.
Where to now?
According to the ACCC, if you product fails, there are three steps by which you can try to seek rectification of your fault.
Step 1—Contact the seller,
Step 2—Contact the ACCC or another third part (in NSW we also have The Department of Fair Trading for example)
Step 3—Take legal action
…see the pdf form ACCC listed above for a description of the steps…
One would hope that simply contacting the seller, perhaps after seeking help from Fair Trading or the ACCC, the seller would come to some compromise… but not always!
I might point out, that the above document also suggests that you can seek repairs from another person, and request that the seller reimburse you. Though I am not sure how far that would get you.
Perhaps Harvey Normal and Coral Bay East Coast believe that paying over $2000 for a lounge suite obliges them to provide a product that is expected to be repaired or replaced after 12 months.
Which seems to be the case in this instance.
I believe that the cables have failed due to either poor manufacturing, or a cable that is not suitable for the loads placed upon it. I therefore put it to both Harvey Normal and Coral Bay, that their product is NOT up to a suitable standard to be marketed at that price.
Perhaps a product that lasts less than two years might be more suitable to a price range of perhaps less than $400.
I would personally recommend a close scrutiny of lounges and their warranty if you are considering buying from both Harvey Norman, and its supplier Coral Bay East Coast Pty Ltd.
While the lounge seems reasonable from initial appearances, and short term use, longer term use shows a quality that might appear to be substandard. At the least, there appears to be some parts that are substandard.
The suite in question was similar to the:
Sirocco Corner range, the
Argos Modular range, the
Sophia range, the
Marco range, the
Bourbon range, the
Barnsbury range, the
Kato range, and others.
The lounge suite had a small lever release for the recliner on two chairs (operated with fingers on the side of the chair, the cables attached to this is what failed); it was a light brown fabric lounge with two flip top boxes and two pairs of cup holders. It was in an L shaped modular format. Under the foot rest (when in recliner mode) the suite was branded with “Coral Bay East Coast Pty Ltd – Castle Hill”.
As many of you live in Australia, and/or buy lounges from Harvey Norman, it would be wise to review their terms and conditions, and their warranties before deciding to spend $2000 plus on a lounge suite that they don’t want to take responsibility for.
As I was reasonably disgusted with Harvey Norman’s response, I have also written a review on productreview.com.au. You can find it at:
Note: Apparently the review that I posted didn’t comply with product review terms and conditions. Even though my review was acceptable in content, as I was not the purchaser, but writing on behalf of someone else, the review didn’t comply. My client (the purchaser) is going to write a response, which I will place here later.
Well that’s it folks. Hopefully those of you who are looking at buying a lounge suite will consider the issues raised before buying. Particularly before buying from Harvey Norman – or as I like to call them “Hardly Normal”.
Bye for now 🙂
PS: I have forwarded this link to Harvey Normal for their comment. We’ll see if they come to the party and repair my client’s lounge suite 🙂